Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Augustus Scavvie

i spent this past weekend doing the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt. it's one of my favourite times of the year...four days of madness, insanity, and abject absurdity. i come back to campus every year to compete with GASH, the Graduate/Alumni Scav Hunt team, and i always love seeing old scavvies again, meeting new ones, and doing ridiculous items together.

this year i did mostly writing and song-writing items. i did a lot of items i thought were fun (many of which i may post here over the next few days or weeks, since i wrote some pretty cool stuff...), but my favourite by far was item #21:

Augustus Scavvie was a little boy
Who thought that everything was a toy:
Glue guns, glitter, hammers, and nails,
Dry ice sitting in big white pails.

When Scav Hunt came, he saw the List
And after reading, got the gist
Of items involving dare and spunk,
Of items made of nought but junk.

He decided he should try his hand
And join one of the merry bands,
But there it was the dreadful Fate
Befell him, which you'll now relate...

Today it is your job, my friend
To spin a yarn from start to end.
Now, Belloc's poems were cruel and torrid--
Weave a Scav poem just as horrid. [4 points]

that's right...the item on the list was written in verse. the key was in the last two lines: this item alluded to Hillaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales for Children, a book of verses about children who either die horrible deaths because they disobeyed their parents and caretakers, or led their friends or family to horrible deaths because they disobeyed such authority.

of course, this is a perfect suggestion for an absurd scav-related poem. this is what i wrote:


Augustus Scavvie, who attempted Scav Hunt at a too-tender age, and unfortunately lost his head while working on a showcase item alone.

Augustus Scavvie seemed quite alright.
He knew he had a future bright.
In his name lied his destiny:
To hunt the Scav at U of C.
His first decade he obeyed rules:
He kept his play to plastic tools
And wooden blocks that he would use
To craft the most elaborate views
Of anything he thought would build
His nascent Larger Projects skills.

But when li'l Scavvie got to ten,
He thought that he could run with men.
He begged his mom and dad to please
Let him attend the List Release.
They turned him down, but he did fight
Then disappeared in dead of night
By waiting 'til his mom dropped guard
Then borrowing her transit card.
By midnight's hour the naughty boy
Had found his way to Ida Noyes.

He tried to find a team who'd roll
Such a young boy into their fold.
They all told him to head on home.
He would not go. He must still roam.
Augustus had not reached his dream,
For he had not yet found a team.
The stubborn boy did keep his spark,
He kept on wandering Hyde Park
Until he spotted as he walked:
A team with its HQ unlocked.

The only scavvies in his sight
Were sleeping, so the time was right.
Augustus tiptoed in to find
A wooden frame seven feet high.
A metal sheet with sharpened edge
Hung from the top, upon a ledge,
And to the blade a rope was tied,
Then pulled around, and down the side.

Augustus planned his scav debut
But knew not what the thing could do.
He walked around to take a look
And still its purpose hadn't took.
Too excited to desist,
But too impatient to read a list:
He thought to leave mark with his name
By hammering nails into the frame.
He missed a nail by just a shade
And bumped the rope that hung the blade.

There was an issue unforeseen:
The project was a guillotine.
Soon as young Scavvie touched the rope
The blade fell down; there was no hope.

The other scavvies in the room
Awoke to a scene of extant gloom.
The showcase zone now had a flood
Of Augustus Scavvie's drying blood.
His head gazed out with plaintive eyes
Too late to stop his sad demise.

The funeral fell on a sunny day
During the second week of May.
His mother and his father came,
His aunts and uncles cried his name.
The pastor's eulogy began
With happy tales of the poor young man.
But slowly it became a screed,
A warning dire for all to heed:
Wait 'til eighteen years you have
Before you Hunt the Mighty Scav.

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